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Friends Who Protect One Another


Clockwise from left: BEAUJANGLESS, model and entertainer, 30; XUNAMI MUSE, drag performer, model and collection coordinator, 31; ARRA, singer- songwriter, 24; BRAZIER RAY, makeup artist, 25; LINUX, party producer, 23; BOBBY LeMAIRE, artist and social advocate, 23; and RADICAL POM, performer, 23. Photographed outside the 3 Dollar Bill bar on Meserole Street (near where most of them reside) in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Nov. 23, 2020.

For Linux, Xunami Muse, Bobby LeMaire and the rest of their close-knit group, finding your chosen family means never having to be alone.

Clockwise from left: BEAUJANGLESS, model and entertainer, 30; XUNAMI MUSE, drag performer, model and collection coordinator, 31; ARRA, singer- songwriter, 24; BRAZIER RAY, makeup artist, 25; LINUX, party producer, 23; BOBBY LeMAIRE, artist and social advocate, 23; and RADICAL POM, performer, 23. Photographed outside the 3 Dollar Bill bar on Meserole Street (near where most of them reside) in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Nov. 23, 2020.

Interviews by Río Sofia
Photograph by Melody Melamed

Interviews by Río Sofia

April 12, 2021

Linux: I really hope that we live to be old, old, old ladies one day — no one is dying on us young. I hope we’re the oldest women to live in the history of old-age women. And when we look back at our 20s, I hope that we think, “Oh, honey, that was just the beginning! I can’t believe we used to be that poor, and that we used to struggle like that.” When we look around at each other much later, we’ll have lived a full life and have experienced so many things — been onstage for millions of people, been pop stars, flown on private jets, lived the life. I hope all of our dreams manifest and materialize themselves. We’re getting interviewed by The New York Times now, but when we look back, I hope we think that these were our struggle days. It’s only the beginning.

Xunami Muse: A few years ago, Beau got jumped by a bunch of random people outside a gay club. It was so bad that their whole mouth was wired shut, and they could only eat and drink through a straw. When that happened, our whole group of friends felt like in some way we failed to be there for them, to protect them. That’s when the true heart of our friendship came alive. After that happened to Beau, they couldn’t go to work for a while, so we made sure someone was always there with them for whatever they needed. Food, company, help getting to a therapy session or a doctor’s appointment — they always had somebody there.

For me, it’s always about making sure that no one feels alone. Make sure your friend has what they need to feel safe. Walk them to their cab, help pay for one if they can’t afford it. We try to be there for each other to prevent something like what happened to Beau from happening again.

Friends Who Create Together Friends Who Are Muses New Friends Friends Who Are Family Weekend Friends Friends Who Share a Language Best Friends Friends Who Summer Together Old Friends Friends Who Came Up Together Party Friends Friends Who Teach Each Other Friends Who Saw It All Friends Who Inspire Each Other Friends Who Became Adults Together School Friends Clients Who Became Friends Partners, Now Friends Actor Friends Friends Who Cook Together Furry Friends Friends Who Protect One Another Friends Who Make Music Together Hometown Friends Work Friends Mentor/Protégée Friends Friends Who Miss Each Other Friends Who Create Together Friends Who Are Muses New Friends Friends Who Are Family Weekend Friends Friends Who Share a Language Best Friends Friends Who Summer Together Old Friends Friends Who Came Up Together Party Friends Friends Who Teach Each Other Friends Who Saw It All Friends Who Inspire Each Other Friends Who Became Adults Together School Friends Clients Who Became Friends Partners, Now Friends Actor Friends Friends Who Cook Together Furry Friends Friends Who Protect One Another Friends Who Make Music Together Hometown Friends Work Friends Mentor/Protégée Friends Friends Who Miss Each Other

Bobby LeMaire: Nightlife is a very significant factor that has kept me here. I moved from North Jersey to the city two years ago, and started going out to parties out of a need for queerness. It might feel superficial, nightlife and all that, but when it comes to queer people, it’s a space for us to be together in a safer environment. We connect with each other, we make money together, we look out for one another.

Brazier Ray: People you haven’t known for as long as your family, your blood family, can become just as close in a short amount of time. I don’t know what my life would be like without Arra, Bobby, Beau and all the other girls — they’re family to me. I want to emphasize the point that you never know when you’ll find your people, but everyone has their people. They’re out there. I don’t want anyone to feel that they’ll always be alone. Your people are out there, and you will find them. Because I found my people.

Interviews have been edited and condensed. Photo assistants: Chen Xiangyun, Margo Lang, Kasia Reterska

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